California company Calera is developing a new process to clean up the manufacture of cement, which releases a large amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), reports Voice of America News. The process could even be used to help a power plant sequester its emissions, Calera suggests.
Calera’s new process is said to deliver an environmentally-friendly cement that captures and stores CO2, while decreasing the amount of emissions associated with making the cement, according to the article. In addition, it would provide a new “clean” material for green buildings.
In May last year, a coalition representing the world’s leading cement makers agreed to reduce emissions by 25 percent. Cement makers are said to be one of the largest carbon-emitting industries, contributing five percent of global emissions, an amount that is exceeded only by the steel and oil refinery sectors.
At Calera, Brent Constantz said scientists have developed a way to make a “green” cement that actually removes greenhouse gas from the air so for every unit of carbon that traditional cement emits, his green cement removes three units, reports Voice of America News.
Calera’s technology is targeting the CO2 from large industrial sites such as coal-fired power plants. Applying his technology in the real world, in January Calera began drawing one percent of power plant Dynegy’s stack gas from a massive pipe to its cement plant with the plan to capture 80 percent of the smokestack CO2 and sequester it in its cement mixture, reports Voice of America.
If it works, Moss Landing Power Plant manager Jim Dodson, told Voice of America the technology could be a game-changer for carbon sequestration efforts.
Conventional carbon-capture technologies can capture as much as 90 percent of the CO2 from smokestack gas, but it also uses a lot of the energy generated by the plant, which nearly doubles the cost of power for consumers, according to the article.
Constantz told Voice of America his company’s relatively low-cost cement-making process can surpass the U.S. Department of Energy’s call for a reduction of parasitic load on power production below 30 percent, cutting a plant’s energy drain in half to less than 15 percent.
The Department of Energy also launched a new National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) last year to speed up the development and testing of new technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-based power plants.